New Research Points to How Playing Video Games Could Help Children Read More

It’s not always easy to get children to enjoy reading, but according to a recent research project done in the United Kingdom, kids are far more likely to enjoy reading if they enjoy video games and movies. There are companies exploring ways to connect these two worlds, and products such as Mad Catz M.O.J.O. are coming in the scene – for more advanced users. It’s an important step towards a revolution in mobile gaming.

The entertainment world is connecting books, television, movies and video games more than ever before and it’s having a big impact on what our kids enjoy. So, what’s the secret? It all comes down to tie-ins.

Bridging Gaps Between Characters and Worlds

The key to getting children to enjoy reading is to remind them that books are places to get lost in. Stories offer kids new worlds to explore and new characters to get to know. The easiest way to illustrate this fact is through media that’s immediately recognizable. When a family sits down to watch the latest Lord of the Rings movie, Harry Potter movie or Hunger Games movie, children not only relate to the characters, but they’re curious to find out more about them. This leads many to wish to read the books. A similar phenomenon can be seen with popular fairy tales as well.

This is also true for video game franchise tie-ins. When a child plays a video game that’s set in the Harry Potter universe, the Star Wars universe or the Lord of the Rings universe, they want to know more about the universe and absorb every bit of that adventure-filled world. Video game companies are realizing that creating games based off popular franchises is a great money-maker, but they’re also realizing that it’s a lesson in education. Video games that feature some type of text, of course, also help younger children learn to read and absorb visual cues and information.

Helping Children Reach New Heights

In this study done in the United Kingdom, researchers found that children not only read more books when the content was tied to the games and movies they enjoyed, but that children read books that were at an average of 2.4 years above their current grade level. When kids are excited about reading, they’re able to learn quicker and absorb information faster, subsequently letting them tackle more challenging books. This lets them learn to love everything reading has to offer.

When children learn to love reading through their favorite movies and games, it also leads many to pick up other books that tell similar tales and showcase similar worlds to the books they first enjoyed. A child who fell in love with the Star Wars video games, for example, will find him or herself reading Star Wars novels then will most likely move on to different science fiction novels. This allows them to grow as readers.

The simple act of a child picking up a book set in a beloved universe can spark an entire lifetime of enjoyment inspired from the written word. There’s a closer gap between technology and literature than many educators and parents think. Books aren’t always about simple words on a page, after all. They’re about worlds, characters, messages and ways of life– just like our favorite video games and movies. They’re places to get lost in. The sooner we realize that all forms of immersion and learning are connected, the quicker we can encourage our children to build bridges between their favorite worlds and embrace the joy of reading.

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